Who gets to choose how damage counters get put on, or are there rules for it?

I have a Primeape with the attack:

Karate Chop Does 80 damage minus 10 damage for each damage counter on this Pokémon.

If it has 50 damage on it in five 10-damage counters, that attack will do 30 damage, but can I combine the 50 damage into one 50-damage counter so that it does 70 damage?

  • 5
    Switch when you need to? I don't think it matters how many counters are on a card as long as the total is correct.
    – Joe W
    Feb 21, 2019 at 0:11
  • @JoeW I believe OP is reading the ability as you use the number, not the value, of counters to determine Karate Chop, so by their reading changing to a single 50 point counter would up the damage by 40 from five 10 point counters.
    – Andrew
    Feb 21, 2019 at 14:48
  • 1
    @Andrew That is something that would be critical to have in the question as it would clarify what the real question is. As it stands it appears to be just about tracking damage on the card rather then asking about the number of counters on a card.
    – Joe W
    Feb 21, 2019 at 15:15
  • @JoeW the very first line is about the primape ability
    – Andrew
    Feb 21, 2019 at 15:50
  • 1
    @Andrew That may be the case but it should still include why he is asking. From my reading of the question it seems that it is just asking about consolidating counters and not that it is about how the consolidated counters work with that ability. From my reading and understanding is a 50 point counter is treated the same as five 10 point counters so I didn't fully understand what was being asked and it appears you are making an assumption about what is being asked.
    – Joe W
    Feb 21, 2019 at 16:09

2 Answers 2


Primeape from Plasma Freeze has this ability, Karate Chop, however the ability doesn't care if you consolidate counters into something else like higher value counters or dice, counters as referred to by this are the standard 10 damage counter. Changing to some other method to show the 50 damage on the primeape does not change the effect of the ability, effectively the ability does 80-[the total damage Primape has taken].

Generally though I would suggest using Dice to mark damage, it's a lot simpler to have 2d6 on the card than it is to cover it with 8 counters (as the 9th would knock it out) This is however an opinion there, and temper it with how things are enforced where you play and by your opponents.

  • So i should count every 10dmg as it's own counter. No matter what sort of dmg counter i use? If i took 80dmg i would have 8 counters correct? Feb 21, 2019 at 23:25
  • @unicornturtle for the purposes of an ability like karate chop, absolutely. The way you represent the damage isnt supposed to matter for karate chop, saying it this way just makes it easier for younger players to handle the math.
    – Andrew
    Feb 22, 2019 at 6:44
  • oh ok.. is this the same for cards that say place one counter on the enemy? Feb 22, 2019 at 12:11
  • @unicornturtle Yes, if something is placing one damage counter on a pokemon, that is a single 10 point damage counter.
    – Andrew
    Feb 22, 2019 at 15:04

Yes you may, damage counters are only used to denote if the pokemon card still have enough HP to keep fighting. If you have watched official tournaments, you may notice they would rather use dice to show the damage counters since it require less component. Each die can be used for 6 different damage values. You can rotate the face of the dice to denote the damage (x10pts). It's more efficient since most tournament pokemon have huge HP. So two or more dice is enough for each pokemon instead of 20 or more 10pt counter tokens.

  • 1
    So when the abilities say something about a counter, they are referring to 10 dmg right? Feb 21, 2019 at 12:28

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